[To be continued.]
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor. xv:20.
In our last we noticed the context, and also taken into consideration the language of Paul on the coming of Christ and the change of the living in Phil. iii:20, 21. This, we have shown, has no reference to the mortal bodies of men being changed to immortal bodies, so as to resemble the personal form of Jesus Christ. If it refer to Jesus, still the resemblance would be moral, not personal, for no where do the scriptures teach, that we are in our personal appearance to be like our Saviour. But in a moral sense, “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” I do not say, that there will be no personal resemblance between immortal beings and Christ. I fully believe there will be; but I mean that this personal resemblance is more a matter of course, than a doctrine of divine revelation. I do not read of the “glorious body” of Jesus in his immortal resurrection state. But the scriptures do compare the moral body of Christians on earth with the glorified body of holy beings in heaven, Heb. xii:22, 23—“But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an in-numerable company of angels to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made made perfect.” So far as the Christians were “established unblamable in holiness before God even our Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” so far as they were elevated to “shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars forever” so far as their moral condition and enjoyments were improved and enlarged, thus far, of course, the lowly body of the church on earth would be changed into a moral resemblance of that “glorious body” of Christ, who were praising him in heaven. In heaven the Christians had their conversation, from whence they were looking for the Saviour, as shortly to come, and fashion them into a moral resemblance of those saints above, who had died in his cause, and who were to come with him. From the whole context, the conclusion is irresistible that this change of the “vile body” was at the coming of the Lord then at hand, and not at the end of time, as some imagine.
Another scripture commonly applied to the general resurrection of the dead, and a change of all the living is recorded in 1 Thess. iv:15, 16, 17—“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not be before them that are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught